(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/26/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on American Muslims and other people of conscience to help counter the continued introduction of unconstitutional and discriminatory “anti-Sharia,” “anti-foreign law,” and “anti-Islamic Indoctrination” bills in state legislatures nationwide by introducing a pair of anti-Islamophobia resolutions that recognize the contributions of American Muslims and reaffirm the right of citizens to practice their faith within the law and free of government interference.
The two resolutions, “Recognizing the Accomplishments of Muslim Citizens” and “Faith in Our State and Laws,” along with step-by-step advice on the introduction and passage of those resolutions, are part of a new CAIR toolkit called “Recognizing American Muslim contributions in Our States.”
CAIR's toolkit has sections such as "Understanding the Legislative Process," "Legislative Advocacy: Limits for Non-Profit Organizations," "Checklist: Meeting with an Elected Official," and "Ensuring an Effective Meeting with an Elected Official," as well as fact sheets that may be given to lawmakers and their staff in support of the two resolutions.
CAIR’s Toolkit: Recognizing American Muslim contributions in Our States
In his introduction to the toolkit, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad states: “American Muslims work hard every day in different sectors and fields in our society, from academia, to medicine, to engineering, to the arts, sports, politics, and much more. Every day, we are making America stronger and better. It is time to make our society and elected officials better aware of our contributions and who we are as Americans.”
“The release of this toolkit is an important step in pushing back against Islamophobic fear-mongering in our state legislatures by reaffirming that Muslims are not only welcomed, but also that their civic contributions are recognized,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw. “By doing so, we will reaffirm our shared history of embracing individuals’ right to practice the faith tradition of their choice.”
McCaw noted that the resolutions are modeled on language used in Congressional H.Res. 569 – “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States,” and D.C. City Council resolution 20-579.
CAIR is urging Islamic communities nationwide to ask state lawmakers to stand with their Muslim constituents in countering the injustice of growing Islamophobia nationwide that is being spread by anti-Muslim activists and hate groups.
These Islamophobic individuals and organizations have introduced legislation that would ban state courts from considering or using either “international law” or “Sharia” in the attempt to falsely suggest that the American Muslim community is a foreign entity that seeks to undermine American law and ultimately replace it with Sharia, the religious principles of Islam.
Elected officials in a number of states have enacted legislation designed to vilify or otherwise target Islam. In at least two states, the way school text books are selected was changed because some activists wrongly believe that introductory religious courses that teach children Islam’s five pillars are indoctrination and proselytization.
Following the release of a similar CAIR sponsored toolkit in 2012, lawmakers in Washington state challenged this anti-Islam legislating trend by adopting the “Faith in Our State and Laws” of 2013. That resolution, supported by CAIR-Washington stated, “this body believes that it is not the role of the legislature of Washington State to disparage or marginalize any religious tradition.”
In 2014, the Washington, D.C., city council adopted as resolution "supporting religious tolerance toward people of all faiths in the District of Columbia" and rejecting anti-Muslim bigotry.
The resolution, was supported by CAIR and Jewish Voice for Peace - DC Metro Chapter, and introduced after anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller's hate group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) placed an Islamophobic advertisement on buses falsely claiming that the Quran, Islam's revealed text, encourages Muslims to hate Jews.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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